Philippine Air Force is eyeing to purchase 16 Black Hawks from the United States, six T-129 attack helicopters from Turkey and three ground based air defense systems from Israel in 2019 in its biggest ever military buy, Former Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar Jr said at the change of command ceremony on Friday.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed earlier this month that the technical working group of the Air Force has selected Black Hawks and T-129 ATAK for its combat utility helicopter and attack helicopter projects, respectively. He said the Black Hawks from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky were the “best option” to replace the cancelled Bell 412 EPI contract with Canada.
Early this year, President Rodrigo Duterte called off the deal to acquire 16 Bell 412 EPI helicopters from Canadian Commercial Corporation after Ottawa ordered a review of the acquisition as the choppers might be used for offensive operations instead of transport missions.
According to Kintanar, the Air Force expects the deliveries of 2 Cobra attack helicopters from Jordan, 6 Super Tucano close air support aircraft from Brazil, 2 fixed wing Command and Control aircraft, 2 radar systems from Israel and 13 Hermes unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel.
Phase 1 of the Integrated Command, Control, Communications and Cyber System will also be implemented which will connect the Presidential Situation Room, the AFP Command Center, Unified Command Operations Centers, the Air Force Command Center, the Air Force functional commands, the Wings and down to the Tactical Operations Groups, Inquirer.net quoted Kintanar as saying Saturday.
The Air Force also hopes to the receive 2 C-130 cargo planes and 4 OV-10 attack aircraft from the US; and P721 million (US $13.6 million) worth of engineering equipment for humanitarian assistance and disaster response and developmental work.